How Does One Get Diabetes?
How do you get Diabetes?
No one knows why people develop diabetes, but once diagnosed, the disease is present for life. It is a hereditary disorder, and certain genetic indicators are known to increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Type 1, previously known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile-onset diabetes, afflicts five to ten percent of diagnosed cases of diabetes. This type occurs most frequently in children and adolescents, and is caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce the insulin needed for survival.
Type 2, previously called noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes, affects the other 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, many of whom use oral medication or injectable insulin to control the disease. The vase majority of those people (80% or more) are overweight; many of them obese, as obesity itself can cause insulin resistance.
Certain characteristics put people at a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. These include:
- A family history of the disease
- Prior history of developing diabetes while pregnant
- Being over the age of 40
- Being a member of one of the following ethnic groups: African American, Native American, Latino American, Asian American AND Pacific American
The Podiatrist's Role
Because diabetes is a systemic disease affecting many different parts of the body, ideal case management requires a team approach. At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, we have documented success in the prevention of amputations. The key to amputation prevention in diabetic patients is early recognition and regular foot screenings, at least annually.
In addition to these check ups, there are warning signs that you should be aware of so that they may be identified and called to the attention of a family physician or your podiatrist. They include:
- Skin color changes
- Elevation in skin temperature
- Swelling of the feet or ankle
- Pain in the legs
- Open sores on the feet that are slow to heal
- Ingrown and fungal toenails
- Bleeding corns and calluses
- Dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel
Ulceration is a common occurrence with the diabetic foot and should be carefully treated and monitors by a podiatrist to avoid amputations. Poorly fitted shoes, or something as trivial as a stocking seam, can create a wound that may not be felt by someone whose skin sensation is diminished. Left unattended, such ulcers can quickly become infected and lead to more serious consequences. Your podiatrist knows how to treat and prevent these wounds and can be an important factor in keeping your feet healthy and strong.
**New to the science of wound healing are living, skin-like products that are applied to wounds properly prepared by your podiatrist. Clinical trials have shown impressive success rates.